What next for West Ham?

As a 16 year old West Ham fan I’ve seen them relegated twice, lose an FA Cup final, lose and then win a Play-Off Final and yet I remain strangely optimistic. Grant’s immediate sacking yesterday was some form of consolation for many Hammers fans, who like me, feel that he should have got the sack in January. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I think we all saw this coming. Many will feel that an experienced manager such as Sam Allardyce could have re-juvenated the Hammers and led them to mid-table safety as demonstrated by Roy Hodgson at West Brom, however as seen yesterday, it was not only poor managing and lack of motivation/tactical nous that led to West Ham’s demise – it was also down to a distinct lack of passion shown from the players.

Gold and Sullivan

Relegation, as admitted by David Gold, will lead to a fire-sale to try and counter the financial threat of relegation. Players such as Parker, touted in January to be worth £15million, will most definitely leave along with a whole host of names such as Upson, Dyer, Boa Morte, Cole and Noble. The vast majority of players are also nearing the end of their contracts which they can safely expect will not be renewed. Demba Ba who only signed in January is fully expected to leave with Chelsea and Arsenal rumoured to be willing to pay a fee in the region of £10 million. Considering we paid £7million for the guy at least we seem to be showing some form of financial sense. Something interesting I did read however is that West Ham are contemplating not selling Scott Parker and Ba and instead loaning them out to Premier League clubs in the hope that next season we bounce straight back up, however I can’t see this happening especially in the current economic climate as the cost of relegation, as admitted by Gold and Sullivan is “frightening”. Both Gold and Sullivan have admitted that they will have to provide a cash injection of up to £40million to keep the club afloat and there is no denying that this could potentially get even worse for the Hammers.

However below is a list of four players I feel West Ham could realistically target next season:

Craig Mackail-Smith – 27 goals in 45 appearances for Peterborough this season, the guy is a proven goalscorer and I feel he would definitely be the right man to spearhead a new look West Ham attack.

Jon Ashton – A Rock at the back for Stevenage Borough this season along with Mark Roberts, a physical yet calm professional would provide a calm head at the back. Could he hack it at Championship level? I think it’s worth the risk. He wouldn’t command a massive fee or wages either.

Shane Long – Having seen him play against Stevenage in the FA Cup need-less to say I was impressed by the young Irishman. Full of pace and energy and a proven goalscorer with 21 goals in the Championship this season. With Premiership teams knocking would he be willing to stay in the Championship though?

Jonny Howson – Fantastic season for Leeds, great passer of the ball and a quality Championship player. Would be a fantastic play-maker in the middle of the midfield and a model professional for some of West Ham’s younger players.

All four of those are realistic targets and apart from Ashton, proven Championship players who are willing to fight for their team. West Ham have got to forget about “superstars” and turn to experienced Championship players who don’t lack passion and genuinely want to be playing at the top level. Manager-wise Steve McClaren being touted as the hot favorite to take over the reigns at Upton Park and as far as I’m concerned, he would be a fantastic appointment. He’s full of experience and would have the backing of the fans, unlike another suggested name Neil Warnock. It would appear the board have forgotten that this is the same man who tried and failed to sue the Hammers a couple of seasons ago and whose team successfully sued West Ham as well. Nonetheless, he does have fantastic Championship experience after winning the league with QPR this season so in that sense he would be a very good appointment, however I personally cannot see this happening due to the history he has with the club.

To conclude, relegation is going to hurt West Ham financially and there is no denying that a massive fire-sale in the summer is going to happen. But West Ham can’t rest on their laurels they need to attack the market and sign proven and experienced players who will be willing to put up a fight and see them promoted back up to the Premier League immediately. Hiring the right manager is key and I hope Sullivan, Gold and Brady take their time in appointing the right man for the job. Need-less to say more nail-biting and squeaky bum times ahead for West Ham but hey what do you expect, it wouldn’t be West Ham otherwise.

By Daniel Speller – West Ham United fan – @Daniel_Speller


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One Response to What next for West Ham?

  1. Tim Lloyd says:

    Good article. I’m not a West Ham fan (AFC Wimbledon) but do feel sorry for the fans as they have been let down massively by the board. Anyone could of told you right from the start that Grant wasn’t the man for the job. West Ham have a tradition of playing good football with a bit of character. Grant just didn’t fit. The board stuck by him purely because of the negative PR they would of got if they sacked him around Christmas and also that they didn’t want to rush into appointing another manager after making such a bad decision in the first place.
    As a result Grant simply became the fall guy. Out of his depth and with no support from above.
    Having said that, what annoys me about the modern player is that they are always so eager to blame unrest behind the scenes on their performance on the pitch. IMO it shouldn’t affect your desire, will to win or just basic right to perform at you best to justify your wage and as always in football is the fans that are left to pick up the pieces……funny old game!

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